Hello, all! This has taken me a while to write, just because of distractions and whatnot, but I managed to finish this! A quick one-shot about Crookshanks's shipping preferences. Just something I always noticed in the books, if you have any questions feel free to message me or something, because I feel like explaining it all here would take away from the story itself. I hope you enjoy!
Humans are just so stupid.
It pains me to admit it, of course, as my mistress is a human herself, but even she falls to the susceptibility of human weakness of the mind.
For many years now, I've been her companion. I have seen her do many great things - things that I could only dream of doing had I thumbs like hers. I still recall her young face as she came into the Magical Menagerie all those years ago, and upon seeing her, I realized that she was precisely the human worthy of my companionship, and thankfully she chose me in return.
I have always assisted her in whatever ways I could, though naturally without the ability to speak her language, there isn't all that much I can do.
But the one task that I have always tried to assist her with is, of course, the one task at which she is as inept as any other human.
My poor mistress can't seem to find the proper mate.
Over the years, I have watched my mistress mature into a beautiful young female. The most intelligent of her kind, and among the most powerful. Common sense ought to lead her to the conclusion, then, that she deserves a male equivalent to her skill and prowess, and in our time together, I have only seen one other human male that has exhibited such qualities
And it's most certainly not the redheaded blubbering idiot that she has come to associate herself with.
Although, please don't mistake my statement to imply that the ginger-haired boy, whose hair greatly resembles my fur, is completely useless. On the contrary. He has been a loyal companion to my mistress, much like I have been, and he has been by her side for longer than I have. But he is still not the male worthy of her. And as much as I try to tell my mistress that, she does not seem to understand my message.
She is angry with me at the moment, you see, as I have refused to acknowledge her relationship with the red-haired boy. I scratched him earlier, and he did a great deal of shouting at my mistress (at which point I felt the need to claw him again) before he stormed away like an angry she-cat.
The other unfortunate business about my mistress is that she cries. Kneazles and their kin, like myself, have no need for crying, and I know for a fact that she would not cry or wail as much if she were to simply mate with the man she deserves.
I sit on an armchair in our home, my tail curled around my paws, as I dolefully watch my mistress curl up and whimper. The redheaded male must have said some very harsh words in order to make her so upset. Flicking an ear thoughtfully, I decide she needs my comfort. If she can't have the male worthy of her, she can at least have me by her side for the rest of her days.
Letting loose a small mew, I easily hop over to the arm of the couch on which she lays, and I look down at her.
"Go away, Crookshanks," she wails.
Unfortunately for her, I have no intention of doing any such thing. She needs me. I tread carefully as I gently step down from the arm and weave my way up towards her chest. I climb onto her stomach and lay down.
"Get off, Crookshanks," she growls, but she makes no attempt to push me off.
I stretch my paw off up towards her face. Stop crying, then, I tell her silently. But of course she never understands.
We stare at each other for a few moments before she sighs in defeat and smiles. She reaches out to rub my head, and for a split second I lose my focus as a purr resonates in my throat. Come on now, mistress, don't lose tears over that mongrel, I remark. He's not worth it.
"Oh, Crookshanks," my mistress sighs, wiping away her tears, though fresh ones still continue to leak. "What am I going to do with you?"
You're going to give me a salmon filet and rub behind my ears, I say.
She didn't do the former, but the latter she did seconds later, and my purr grew louder.
"I wish you'd stop harassing Ron whenever he was over here," she muses, continuing to rub the top of my head, her fingers massaging my fur. "He absolutely hates it. You've never behaved that way when Harry comes around, and so now Ron thinks…" My mistress only lets out another deep sigh as she looks up at the ceiling. She stops rubbing my head and I glare at her dolefully. That felt good.
Well, he's an idiot, now isn't he? I sit up now, looking down at her as I flick my tail in irritation. Not at all like that other male you mentioned.
To be honest, I don't see why my mistress hasn't seen the signs. The other male she hangs around, the raven-haired and green-eyed boy with the strange round spectacles… now he is the male worthy of my mistress. My tail twitches thoughtfully as I consider my mistress' options. I just don't understand why she went for the redheaded boy, when the raven-haired one has been by her side for just as long, perhaps longer. And anyone can feel the raven-haired boy's power. He may not be as smart as my mistress, but he's certainly equal to her in sheer ability.
I've done my best over the years to show my mistress that the raven-haired one is the male she is meant to be with. I can smell it. Well, as much as one can smell these sort of things.
That was when a brilliant idea struck me, and I couldn't believe I had never thought of it before.
"It's just you've really done it this time," my mistress was saying. "Ron's been in rages like that before but… I just don't know. Maybe you've pushed him a bit too far. You know how he is when he feels like he's being compared to anyone, especially Harry. I just don't know what I'll do if this is really the end of our relationship. I'll never forgive you, you know."
Oh, I think you will, I reply. And it won't be just because I'm the most amazing creature in the world.
All it took was a few more hours, and my mistress was sound asleep. She'd cried a great deal more before finally dozing off, and her eyes were red and puffy. I felt a little bad, leaving my mistress here alone, but it would only be for just a little while. My plan was now in motion.
The cat flap at the base of the door to her flat was usually locked at night with magic. But in my mistress' distress, she'd forgotten to. Everything was coming together quite nicely.
I slipped out into night, puffing out my fur against the slight chill, and padded down the steps to the street. If people there thought it odd, they didn't show it. To them I was a simple alley cat. Very common in this part of town - in fact, it was fairly common everywhere. Just another reason why my plan would go so well. The only matter was how long it was going to take to get to my destination. It looked as though I would have to run. The idea made my paws itch and I already felt longwinded. I was certainly not as young as I used to be.
But nevertheless, this was for my mistress. And so, I set off.
I'd traversed this path only three times before, but it was well known enough to me by now that I had no trouble racing down alleyways and leaping over trashbins and dashing across streets with cars. If my mistress knew that I was so reckless in my night-time outings, she would for sure keep the cat flap locked all the time. Not that the cat flap being locked had ever stopped my sneaking out before.
The raven-haired male's home was a strange one, but it was a place I was familiar with nonetheless. My mistress had stayed here over a few holidays back when she had still been in school, and I remember our days here somewhat fondly.
It took three paw taps to the pavement to make the dwelling appear, and the gate swung open for me as I trotted past as though I was an old friend. This was going to be much easier than I'd thought.
The only problem was going to be getting the raven-haired male's attention. But there was only one way to go about it.
I reached up onto my hind legs and started scratching at the door, letting out my loudest caterwaul possible. This continued for several minutes, and my throat was beginning to ache. Honestly, couldn't this male be bothered? How oblivious was he?
When the door finally opened, I was greeted with a, "Crookshanks?" And suddenly I was lifted up from the ground and carried inside the old house of the raven-haired male, by the bleary-eyed raven-haired male.
"Blimey, Crookshanks, what're you doing all the way over here? Is everything alright with Hermione?"
No, not everything's alright, you fool, I retort, but all that comes out is an irritated mew. You get you and your nonexistent whiskers over there right now and make her better. She's an absolute mess.
"Right, er, I'll go and get something decent on, shall I? Wait down here, Crookshanks."
Honestly, sometimes this boy seemed to understand me even better than my mistress does on her best days. He sets me down on the cold, hard wooden floor, and I huff. If he thinks I'm going to sit here prettily and wait for him to come back, he's sorely mistaken. I follow him up the stairs, and when he notices this, he only rolls his eyes and keeps going. Thankfully he didn't protest. Because if he had, he would have been in for some sore disappointment. Maybe even a scratch on the leg.
The raven-haired male changes into more presentable fur in one of the many dens upstairs, and after hastily pulling on a sweater he looks at me, worried.
"Is Hermione at her flat, then?"
I meow, Of course she is. It's not like she's in mortal peril.
I lash my tail angrily at the thought. The redhaired boy decided it would be a good idea to yell at my mistress. Again. And he made her cry this time. And I think she said something about this maybe being the end.
"Ron. Right. Crookshanks, they get into fights all the time - that's just what they do. Surely you're used to that by now."
My ears perk. Would I be here if it hadn't been one of their usual tiffs? I let out an irritated growl to accent the thought.
The lad eyes me for a moment before letting out a sigh and picking me up again. I hiss in indignation, but he quickly shushes me and keeps a tighter hold on me even as my claws start to dig into his skin.
"Look, I'm not about to leave you to run all the way back. We'll Apparate, alright?"
I had no idea what this Apparating thing was, but I was very well aware that it was some form of travel. In anticipation, I allow my claws to sink a little deeper, and the male grunts in pain but makes no effort to get me to let go. Smart boy. After all, I couldn't risk the chance of letting go of him while traveling, now could I? I would be lost to my mistress forever, and that would simply not do.
Without warning, the male and I Apparate.
And it is absolutely, without question, the worst way of traveling ever. The entire time, though it lasted for mere seconds, if that, I felt as though I was being squeezed into a tube entirely too small for my body to fit. I felt suffocated, cramped, and everything inside of me felt as though it was going to explode. Though it was over quickly, I made no effort to hide my disdain and my anger at such a painful way of travel. As soon as we appear in a back alley behind my mistress' building, I hiss and give the lad a scratch for good measure before leaping out of his arms and glaring up at him. Never again, I vow to myself.
"I warned you," the raven-haired male tells me with a shrug, though he's rubbing his arm where I sank my claws into him. Good. He looks up at my mistress' building contemplatively for a moment before heading around to the front, and I trot at his feet and shoot between his legs to bound up the stairs to the door. Giving the raven-haired a meaningful look, I push my way through the cat door back into the warm comforts of my home.
My mistress is still on the couch, though she doesn't appear to be sleeping well. She's squirming in her sleep, fresh tears streaking down her already tearstained face. Letting out a worried mew, I leap up onto the arm of the couch. I don't enjoy seeing my mistress like this.
The raven-haired male knocked on the door seconds later.
The sound rouses my mistress from her slumber, and she glares dolefully at the closed door and wipes away her tears.
"I do not want to talk to you right now, Ronald Weasley!" she shouts, and I flick my tail in amusement.
I watch closely as my mistress' face transforms, and I almost purr in amusement. Really, how could she be so oblivious? Anyone can see how her eyes light up, and if she were a cat, I'm quite sure she'd be purring as well. Suddenly my mistress isn't so sad, and she looks much more like her normal self. It does a feline's heart good to see his mistress so improved.
"Be there in a minute," she calls back, her voice having gone under a seemingly identical transformation.
And you think you love that red-haired buffoon, I meow, and my mistress looks at me as if she's just noticed that I was there.
"Crookshanks? Why do you have mud on your paws?"
Oh. Oops. I should have known that my mistress would notice something like that… considering as I'd also tracked it across the carpet and (as I looked down) there were now stains on the sofa. At least my mistress is a fairly forgiving one. So all she does is sigh, wave her wand, and not only are my paws clean, but the floor and the sofa look pristine. I absolutely love my mistress' special abilities. If only we cats could have wands. Then the world would be a reasonable and much more orderly place.
My mistress dashes off towards our den, and she comes back out trying to tie her wild brown headfur back with something small and black. I huff. I don't see why human females are always so keen to put their fur back. It's the only thing natural about humans, really, with their furless pink skin and big noses.
I hop up and follow my mistress, holding my tail high cheerfully as I watch her shuffle to the door. She opens it halfway, and the raven-haired male takes one look at her, and I can tell that he's angry. He, like me, hates seeing my mistress upset.
"'Mione? What happened?"
"Hm? Nothing, I was just… I was just watching the telly. One of my programs was just particularly emotional, I suppose. I didn't realize I looked so bad, I-"
"Hermione, you don't watch your telly."
I resist the urge to purr. My mistress is so silly sometimes around the raven-haired male, making up wild stories to try and keep him from getting angry. But more often than not, he sees through whatever silly games my mistress tries to play. He understands her better than any other being I know, other than myself of course.
When my mistress didn't answer, the raven-haired male edges into the apartment. "What did Ron do this time, Hermione?"
"R-Ron? Ron didn't do anything."
I hiss. Lies.
"Then why did you think I was Ron before? Hermione, you can tell me anything - you do know that, don't you?"
"I… come in," my mistress murmurs, and she opens the door up all the way so the raven-haired male can enter.
He does so hesitantly, as if he's treading on enemy territory. One of my ears twitch as I consider why this is so. Perhaps it's because he feels that this den belongs to the ginger male? I could see why - his scent is everywhere. We males are always cautious when entering each other's territory - that must be what this is. Well, I couldn't possibly have that, so I decided to try and make him feel more comfortably. Purring, I went and wove between the raven-haired male's legs. Maybe if he caught my scent instead, he wouldn't be so frightened.
"How did you know that it was Ron? How did you know… why come over at this hour?" my mistress asks.
Glancing up, I can see the raven-haired male looking at my mistress with a smirk on his features. "Crookshanks came to get me. Right little git woke me up scratching my front door and yowling something awful."
My mistress looks down at me with a mixture of alarm, surprise, and anger. Undeterred by her reaction, I flick an ear dismissively and snort. What? I meow. You obviously needed someone to comfort you, and everyone knows that the raven-haired male is the best at doing that.
"I Apparated back with him, and he came running back in through that cat door you've got. Hermione, you really ought to think about locking that, leaving things open like that could be dangerous," the raven-haired male says.
"I know, but how…" My mistress still seems intent on the idea that I had left the house at night. Again. "How on earth did he get all the way to Grimmauld Place? That's almost a three mile walk."
Well, I ran, obviously, I try to tell her, but of course she doesn't understand. Humans are so narrow-minded sometimes, it's rather ridiculous.
"Hermione, are you going to tell me what happened?"
"Well, Harry, honestly, it's really nothing…"
"Is that why you've been crying? I really don't think Crookshanks would come yowling in the middle of the night if something wasn't going on. Hermione, just tell me. And don't say it's nothing - I've known you for almost ten years, Hermione, don't think I can't see that there is something that's bothering you."
"Ron and I argue all the time, Harry, it's not-"
"Yeah, but you don't cry just because of an argument all the time."
"Hermione, don't do this. Tell me what's going on."
It was honestly like watching one of those silly Muggle games on the telly, where the ball gets bounced back and forth between two people. My whiskers twitch while I watch them, and my stomach grumbles. Hopefully my mistress and the male can get this resolved quickly, so I can see if there's any of that delicious tuna mix left in my bowl. A cat has to reward himself every once in a while, you know.
"Well, it's like I said, Ron and I were arguing. That's all. I'm sorry Crookshanks came to bother you, Harry, he really shouldn't have, and the next time-"
This is the point where I felt that I needed to intervene - this was getting absolutely nowhere and there was no way on this earth that my mistress was going to muck up the one perfect chance I had set up for her. Goodness, what did it take to make a little bit of progress around here? So, naturally, seeing as my mistress was standing in paws' reach, I meow in irritation and reach out to grip my claws into her shirt. Don't lie to him, mistress, I order her as she yelps and swats at my paw. I swat back. You tell him the truth or that won't be the only thing I claw.
"I…" My mistress looks between me and the raven-haired male and lets out a frustrated but defeated sigh, driving me to purr in satisfaction and accomplishment. "He was just being a little nastier than usual, he stormed out of here in quite the rage. Crookshanks had scratched him, he… he took it the wrong way, I suppose, you know how Crookshanks gets-"
"-around him. And Ron always gets so… angry about it, I mean honestly it's sort of ridiculous. He just took it out of hand, and he made some rather horrid accusations about how I was seeing other men behind his back if this was the way my cat treated him, I mean really. And he knows that this switch to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement has been difficult enough, and then of course he had to bring up marriage and moving in with him and of course he took my refusal as a complete dismissal of the idea. And then he just… left. Told me never to bother talking to him again. And I, I…" My mistress sinks down onto her couch in defeat and sags against the back. This evening truly has taken its toll on her, and with a sympathetic mew I jump onto her lap and curl up there. My mistress's lap is always a most comfortable place, and immediately a purr escapes my throat once more as she starts rubbing behind my ears.
The raven-haired male automatically kneels down to my mistress's eye-level, his expression full of empathy and sorrow. I know that it pains him to see my mistress in such a state as much as it does me. "'Mione, I'm sorry, I wish I could… well, you know what talking sense into Ron is like."
"You don't need to do anything, Harry, really it-"
"Don't say it's fine Hermione, you've been crying, and I know that these past few weeks haven't been easy for you. Blimey, anyone can see that. I just wish there was a way I could make it better for you."
I know a way you can make it better, I grumble to myself, though I was distracted seconds later by another marvelous rub behind the ears. Do that… that mouth-mashing thing that other humans do. It'll make my mistress happy.
My mistress sighs. "I know, Harry, thank you. I just don't think there's anything you can do right now."
My ears perked in interest at what happened next.
The raven-haired male reaches forward and gently strokes a finger under my mistress's chin, forcing her to look up at him, and I could tell the immediately moment when their eyes met, because my mistress's legs tensed beneath me. How she could ever deny feelings for this male is beyond me. The pair of them stare at each other for a long moment before words escape either of them.
"You would let me know if there was, wouldn't you?" The raven-haired male's voice is different. Gravelly, even. Right in that second I knew that it wasn't just my mistress that this match would be good for. Though, naturally, any male would be lucky to have my mistress - she's a fine specimen.
"I… of course I would, Harry."
"Just… just keep holding in there, yeah?"
And that's when it happened.
The raven-haired male leans forward - hesitantly, as if my mistress might pull away. I look up just in time to see his mouth gently press against hers. There was no explaining why, or how, just that he did, like it was instinct, and immediately I purred in satisfaction at a job well done.
Certainly, there were things to be dealt with after this, patches my mistress was going to have to close up, like dismissing that red-haired male as a mate, though I did secretly hope he wouldn't completely leave my mistress and the raven-haired male as friends. I enjoy having someone to torment, you see. There were issues to be solved, arrangements to be made, and I'm sure there will be a great deal of emotional problems that this pair will have to come to grips with, but most importantly? This was a start.
A start, I will remind all of you, that I pushed for.
I hope you liked it! Crookshanks is such a pretentious little bugger, isn't he?